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Invasion Of The Roadsters

In the 1970s, North America simply couldn’t get enough of imported sports cars, and demand especially from the “sunshine states” was a lifeline for many European marques, such as the UK’s MG and Triumph, and Italy’s Alfa Romeo and Fiat. Roadsters like the MGB and Fiat 124 Spider were exact opposites of the typical American car—their small size, nimble handling, and dainty lines couldn’t be found in anything produced locally.


The Triumph Spitfire 1500, which made its debut in 1970, was a very strong seller in the US throughout the following decade. Although it was built in Coventry, England, most of the cars produced there were left-hand-drive models, and left the factory with export documents taped to their windscreens. British Leyland, Triumph’s parent company, failed to produce a replacement model for the Spitfire, leaving a gap in the roadster market that was subsequently filled by the Mazda MX5 in the 1980s. The cheeky Spitfire, however, has since become a classic car favorite, still offering open-top fun with low running costs.

A large consignment of colorful Triumph Spitfire 1500s—in soft-top and hardtop forms—destined for export to the US, photographed in about 1976.


It is a quote. The Classic Car Book – The Definitive Visual History 2016

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